Future Unclear After Acquittal of Dover Officer - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Future Unclear After Acquittal of Dover Officer

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Video surveillance photo shows Cpl. Thomas Webster IV kicking Lateef Dickerson in the head. (Photo: Dover Police Department) Video surveillance photo shows Cpl. Thomas Webster IV kicking Lateef Dickerson in the head. (Photo: Dover Police Department)
Cpl. Thomas Webster IV Cpl. Thomas Webster IV

DOVER, Del. (WBOC) - A day after a not guilty verdict for a Dover police officer charged with assault, that officer's future with the police department is still unclear. Dover PD is evaluating the case and will make a decision on Cpl. Thomas Webster IV's status with the department in the coming days.

He's been on unpaid leave since being indicted in May. 

Mayor Robin Christiansen oversees the department. WBOC asked him if Webster should be back on the force.

"I really can't comment on that. But I do I know that I have trust and faith in the chief and his staff to make the best decision on behalf of all the citizens of Dover," the mayor said.

Many people came out to Wednesday night's Dover city Council meeting to voice concerns about the city's labor agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police and the relationship between police and the African-American community.

A jury Tuesday acquitted Webster of assault for a 2013 incident during which the corporal, who is white, kicked a black suspect, Lateef Dickerson, in the head while responding to a fight. Dickerson was knocked unconscious with his jaw broken.

City Councilman Roy Sudler watched the trial in person and says the verdict makes him feel paralyzed.

"I don't what the African-American community can do from here. I really don't know. That's why I feel paralyzed," Sudler said.

La Mar Gunn, president of the Central Delaware NAACP, was in disbelief after the verdict but tried to strike a positive tone speaking to reporters outside the courthouse.

"We have a lot of positive things going on," he said Tuesday. "Many issues are plaguing the community. This sets us back, clearly. I would challenge people to have hope."

After a grand jury chose not to indict Webster in 2014, it was Attorney General Matt Denn who asked for a second grand jury, which did indict. WBOC reached out to Denn's office, but a spokesman told us "no comment." 

The head of Delaware's FOP says the decision shows people have faith in police officers.

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